Höhenrausch - Die Entwicklung Der Höhenmedizin (Höhenrausch - The Development of High-Altitude Medicine)



73 min

Between May 11 and May 24, 2016, 836 people attempted to summit Mount Everest. Of them, 638 achieved their goal. The spell of the mountain is unbroken. In recent years, a veritable record hunt has broken out in high-altitude mountaineering. Summit aspirants are getting younger, older, or faster. They are blind or suffer from physical disabilities. The list of records is long, but so is the list of deaths. On Everest, an estimated total of 282 people have died since records began in 1924 until 2015. On K2, 82 people died in fatal accidents last year alone, or in four summit aspirants. Annapurna is even deadlier, with 71 deaths out of 255 who attempted it in 2016.

The most common causes of death are falls, frostbite, exhaustion, avalanches and altitude sickness. The majority of climbers manage the ascent only with the help of supplementary bottled oxygen. Before the first unaided ascent of Everest by Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler in 1978, an ascent without the aid of artificial oxygen had been considered almost impossible. The generally accepted thesis was that prolonged exposure to extreme altitude and thus to oxygen-poor air would result in severe brain damage. The physician and mountaineer Oswald Oelz was a consulting expedition doctor at the time and believed from the beginning that Messner and Habeler would have a successful expedition. He was proved right, and high alpinism and medical research both began a rethink. Medical scientists are researching the effects of hypoxia on the human body under extreme conditions of oxygen deficiency. In elaborate studies they investigate the physiological processes that take place in the organism and how it adapts to extreme conditions.

Original Language



David Pichler


Tobias Tempel


Matthias Obermeier/ David Pichler/ Nicolai Niessen


Matthias Obermeier


Nicolai Niessen


Nicolai Niessen

About the filmmaker.

Born in Merano, in Italy’s South Tyrol, David Pichler graduated from the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with a diploma in directing, screenwriting, producing and editing. He then studied Directing Actors at the London Film School. his career in film, television and music video production as a script supervisor, assistant director, recording and production manager, Pichler now works as a freelance director, screenwriter, creative producer and editor in advertising and image film.